December 2006
Challenge Hostess: Cynthia Morgan
Theme: Your Favorite Book
Design Element: Value Contrast

--- Design and complete a small work using your interpretation of either the first line or the last line of one of your favorite books.  The line itself (not the entire book) is the spark for your piece.  What pops into your head when you read the line…can you express that in your piece?

--- Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Contrast of values is how the value looks compared to the surrounding values. Try to use strong contrast of values to direct the eye to where you want it to go.

Ann Turley
Walnut, CA

Lonely Boats   

commercial fabrics, Pigma Pens, oil paint sticks

In "The Time Traveler's Wife" Claire states "it is lonely being left behind". I wanted to portray this feeling without using living things. These boats are abandoned on the beach, awaiting the return of those who sail in them. I added detail on the boats with Pigma Pens and oil crayons.


Betty Donahue
Wethersfield, CT

Miss Jane
18-1/2 x 20-1/2”

Cotton, velvet, and lace

The blue line in the mirror is the crack (from Agatha Christie’s book).  I had my husband sit so that I could take his picture to use as a guide.  Miss Jane and the chair were hand appliqued.  The mirror was machine embroidered


Cherie Brown
Del Mar, California

The Lady Igraine

Hand dyed cottons, silks and silk velvet; hand painted silk; aluminum foil (to shape skirt); Shiva paint sticks; feathers.

"Even in high summer, Tintagel was a haunted place; Igraine, Lady Duke of Gorlois, looked out over the sea from the headland." From Mysts of Avalon by Marion Bradley Zimmer
One of my all time favorite series of books.

Cynthia Ann Morgan
Boulder, CO

The City Was Still There
18 x 20"

hand dyed & commercial fabrics, cotton & metallic thread

This quilt is based on the last line of Blindness by Jose Saramago (he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 and the book is about the best and worst of people in a situation of horror). The background is pieced and the "scene" is fused, and then heavily quilted.

Gena Itschner Flatley
Commerce Twp, MI

The numbers just don't add up
23 x 38 “

Commercial Batik Cottons, fused raw edge applique, cotton batting, rayon threads

This challenge led me to combine a line from an old detective novel with my desire to use pieces based on birthdays for my family. In the novel, a detective at a crime scene couldn't make sense of the evidence and he commented figuratively "the numbers just don't add up."  My attempt was a literal interpretation of his comment. For each member of my family I made squares using numbers in their birthdates and tried to come up with a pleasing design. After days on the design wall, the squares called out to be cut, inserted and overlapped. I had the devil of a time trying to get those squares to "add up."


Jan Johnson
Wakefield, Nebraska

The Old Man and the Stars
12” x 17”

cotton fabric, fusible web, star sequins, Shiva paint sticks, Angelina fiber

I chose the first line from the book "The Orphan Boy" by Tololwa M. Mollel.  It's an African tale but the man depicted is not African.  The first line reads:  "As he had done every night of his life, the old man gazed deep into the heavens." 
I used a photo that was altered in Photoshop. I was fortunate enough to find a black fat quarter in my stash that was covered with faint dark gray stars and used that for the background fabric.  I placed a new moon in the sky and added highlights around the old man, moon and tree silhouette below with Shiva paint sticks.  Angelina fibers in the sky added sort of a wispy effect to the sky and moon somewhat resembling the Milky Way.  Little quilting was done other than over the Angelina fibers and around some of the old man's features.

Karen Asherman
Saratoga Springs, NY

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
8.5” x 11”

2 fabrics painted with acrylics

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."  This very long first sentence of "Paul Clifford", written by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton in 1830, is the inspiration for an annual competition to see who can write the worst first line.


Katie Wilson
Norfolk, Nebraska

The Blue Pigs Were Eating a Snake
12" x 9"

all cotton prints, some machine zigzag for the snake

First line of Lonesome Dove: When Augustus came out onto the porch, the blue pigs were eating a snake, not a very large one. I tried this one totally abstract, but it didn't work.  This second attempt using real pig shapes and a somewhat abstract snake, is ok.  There is contrast in color and size of the elements


Lisa A Albanese
Seattle, WA

A yellow kind of a day
8 1/2 by 11”

scrap quilting cottons, seed beads

Based one of my daughters favorite books - My Many Colored Days - by Dr. Suess - first line - Some days are yellow. The piece is composed entirely of scraps - the challenge was having enough value changes in yellow. Echo quilted then beaded for a little flair. I have since turned this into a series of 12 pieces for each color described in the book. 

Linda Cline
San Leandro, CA

Morning Prelude
9" x 13"

Cotton fabrics, fused

An abstract inspired by the first chapter of 'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury. I intended to give the impression of sunrise falling across a small town.


Marlene A. Koons

Auburn, California

The desert was cruel and hard and dry....

the sentence continues  "...and these were the people of the desert."
It's from Jews: The Story of the People by Howard Fast, a marvelous chronicle of Jews, their impact on our world and the start of Christianity.  It's not a religious book, but a fascinating story. 

Of course, my quilt is an abstract interpretation.  The background is strip pieced and the shadows of the dunes are made with Shiva paintsticks. I used a photo of the Nevada desert taken by my husband for the idea.  The vertical strips are the people, black to show them as in our past.  The quilting includes stars of David.  The red circles are up to your interpretation.

Now I have to admit that this isn't necessarily my favorite book (I read about 5 a week so it is too hard to have a favorite) but this book did have an impact on me.  My husband and I listened to an audio version while traveling many years ago and we still recall it from time to time.  While not being Jewish, we found the book a great read and feel richer for having read it.  It's for every one!

Rebecca Kaufman
Seattle, WA

8" x 10”

digital photo collage printed on cotton and backed/bound with wool

The first line of "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett:  "When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too."

My first impluse was to make a secret garden with a lot of color and embroidery etc. But, the assignment was to use the first line of the book for inspiration. This was a challenging assignment because what I like about the book is that there is a secret and it's beautiful. The first line of the book does not by any means reflect that and is quite the opposite. If any of you have read this book, Mary Lennox as Burnett writes is truly a disagreeable-looking child and the manor is a scary place.


Roberta Ranney
Springfield, MO

Marseilles Burning in the Sun
(from Dickens’ Little Dorrit)
16" X 20"

cotton fabric, Jacquard fabric paints

I found a picture of the Bay of Marseilles painted by Cezanne and used 
it very loosely as a model to paint this quilt top. I am a beginning fabric painter having recently taken a Quilt University course. I tried to use a variety of values to bring this scene to life and added some thread painting and quilting.
Tobi K. Hoffman Ashland, MA

Party Field from Bag End
18" diamete
Cotton prints

From a photo I took from the filming site in New Zealand of the Lord of the Rings -- such a favorite book we had to go there!

Wendy Wetzel
Flagstaff AZ

There was a hole….
10" x 14"

Batiks and cotton, thread painted and quilted,

"There is a hole the size of a golf ball in the right side of Katherine Givin's black Bali bra." from Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish. This is totally chick lit, but I love the way Radish speaks to the bonds of women in this and her other books.  The figure is hand-drawn and then fused as applique. I wanted the bra to be the focal point and the body to blend into the background. Variegated threads were used for the highlights of the body shadows. And yes, the arm is a cutout, edged with satin stitch. I have a collection of female nudes that I've used to decorate my bathroom, this will fit right in with the new paint! The biggest challenge was finding a first line that piqued my interest!

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